“Here and Now” by Kevin Costello

HERE AND NOW: 16 Artists of SaRtQ curated by Danny Olda

Tim Jaeger’s tireless effort to promote contemporary art in Sarasota is paying off with SaRtQ’s collective exhibit HERE AND NOW at State of the Arts, Gallery C, 1549 State Street. Central to the success of SaRtQ, is Jaeger’s organizational ability and grasp of the dynamics of diplomacy when negotiating 16 different visions of art.

Diversity and freshness of ideas is exhibited in HERE AND NOW. Aside from Jaeger, credit also should be given to the entrepreneurial skills of gallery owners Tre Michel and David Steiner and the curator Danny Olda. Michel and Steiner are celebrating ten years of State Of The Arts Gallery and in that time have given our arts community significant exhibits.

Beliefs have one distinguishing feature that makes them different to empirical ideas: beliefs (good or ill) are fixed in our thoughts and have a tendency to be indifferent to reconsideration in the face of facts. In psychology this is referred to as “information bias”: unshakable beliefs in abstractions that cannot be physically verified but seek out justification in other subjective/aesthetic judgments. Whereas ideas rooted in science are mutable and opened to change due to new discoveries. Beliefs are free but facts are sacred.

The fission in HERE AND NOW is between the beliefs around the various styles and the physical truths of their manufacture. These paintings, sculptures, photographs and prints have a confluence of mediating energies. These works oscillate between numerous aesthetic polarities such as irony, parody and the multiplicity of images in the computer age as in Metamodernism.

Metamodernism is a new philosophy of aesthetics that can best be described as an emerging mediation, challenge/extension of the combined intentions of modernism and postmodernism.
A multifaceted approach to art making in the age of the netizen—absorbing and restating new accelerating concepts and images at a speed new to the world and art communities.

HERE AND NOW challenges the often-expressed false opinion that Sarasota nurtures visual art. In the past, with the exceptions of a few galleries, Sarasota has been presented with undemanding pastiches of previous ideas and styles—not the memes of the here and now! This exhibit is a new and fresh departure from this paradigm. These artists present ideas that include variances on Metamodernism from references to 19th C. lyrical romanticism in figurative drawing, to late 20th C. conceptual photography, crazy/beautiful Rube Goldberg machines, and small (Vita Morte) objects, that restate 20th C. surrealism with the metaphysics of 17th C. still life’s, together with exquisite earth-glazed ceramics that are of our time and all our times to come. The exhibit also includes delicate geometric welded steel bas-reliefs that are postmodern Mandalas. There are numerous experiments in portraiture that appropriates romantic investigations into insanity and refreshing reflections on the psychic fragmentation of pop art: it’s all here for the individual who goes beyond looking and sees the multiple images and ideas of our time.

This event gives substance to the often-expressed opinion that Sarasota is a cultural community, but unfortunately for economics reasons priority is given almost exclusively to the art forms based in the written word such as film, opera and theater that are entertainment forms of art that generate immediate financial gain. This is not the case with visual arts that requires long-term exposure to the implicit ideas of art and faith in the artist sincerity. Therefore, the long-term advantage to a community in investing in visual art requires patient persuasion and education of the public by the galleries and art institutions of which there are many. Otherwise over time Sarasota looses its young visual talents to other cities. This situation has continued for decades in this city.

New entrepreneurs to the city are looking to give grace and energy to their homes and have no artistic preconceptions. Until this city finds a way to cultivate these young professionals to match the courage of these SaRtQ artists and give them patronage this community will be stunted, because art is a well-known generator of economic wealth.

A collector with new art in their home will have something visually worth sharing that will stimulate conversation and refreshing dialogue in the interchange of ideas with friends. It should be remembered that economic growth in a community could be an indication to some extent of a positive integration of intellectual ideas between business and visual arts.

In short, artists and entrepreneurs should understand that the future belongs to the bold.

Kevin Costello
August, 2015

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